Have you noticed middle-school students eating lunch in the cafeteria or touring the campus? A few times each month the Center for Intercultural Learning and Community Engagement (CILCE) reaches out to young students in order to raise their awareness of post-secondary education and to get them excited about their future.
These visits are also a great opportunity for members of the UST community: Students and faculty can connect with local kids, engage in intercultural learning, lead fun activities or tours, fulfill service hours, and build up their résumés. Whether you participate with your class, club or individually, Early College Awareness (ECA) provides a convenient opportunity to make a difference right here on campus.
How can you get involved?
- Professors can use this as a great opportunity for their students to get involved with service-learning.
- Student clubs can join in as a fun and meaningful way to fulfill service hours.
- Volunteering as an individual is both a great experience and an enjoyable way to spend the lunch hour.
Specific opportunities include planning and leading an activity to teach middle school students about a particular aspect of college, eating lunch with the students and sharing your college experiences, and leading small groups around campus.
Over the past year, students and professors from Music, Biology, Psychology, Engineering, Health and Human Performance, and Justice and Peace Studies have worked with CILCE on these visits, planning and leading age-appropriate activities related to their disciplines. Meeting Tommie students and doing hands-on activities are always highlights of the middle school students’ visits.
While kids in middle school may seem young to start planning for college, this is an important time for students to begin thinking about their future. CILCE presented to more than 1,000 students last year, regularly hosting groups from local schools and community programs that primarily serve youth from low-income backgrounds who will be the first in their families to go to college. These visits typically are led by CILCE staff and student leaders but others on campus are welcome to participate as well.
Along with the opportunity to participate in a visit, simply saying “hi” when you see these guests on campus makes them feel at home and welcome. This way the students can visualize themselves as future college students and know that higher education is possible.
CILCE is grateful for everyone who helps make this program successful (from Admissions and Tommie Ambassadors to presenters and Dining Services). Thank you for allowing St. Thomas to make a long-lasting impression on local youth.